University of Houston researchers create drawn-on-skin electronics

A researcher from the University of Houston has developed a new form of electronics known as drawn-on-skin electronics. The breakthrough allows multifunctional sensors and circuits to be drawn directly on the skin using an ink pen. The technique allows for the collection of precise motion artifact-free-health data.

Movement has long been a problem with gathering high-quality health data from sensors attached using adhesives or other methods. The new drawn-on-skin electronics promise motion artifact-free health data capturing system useful while the subject is in motion. Sensors have to be highly accurate to be used for medical monitoring and diagnosis.

Another significant benefit of the sensor is that it uses a simple fabrication technique that doesn't require dedicated equipment. One of the researchers says that the sensors were applied just as you would use a pen to write on paper. The ink is like a liquid coming out but quickly dries.

The researchers say that the drawn-on-skin electronics can be customized to collect different types of information and is expected to be useful in situations where it's not possible to access sophisticated equipment, such as a battleground or disaster site. Electronics can track muscle signals, heart rate, temperature, skin hydration, and other physical data.

Drawn-on-skin electronics also demonstrated the ability to accelerate wound healing. The system is composed of three inks that serve as a conductor, semiconductor, and dielectric. The research was supported by the Office of Naval Research and National Institutes of Health.